Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rwanda's Genocide: The Untold Story

'The whites were stationed at a height, and first they got us out of hiding with their shots. . . . They stopped when the Interahamwe [the Hutu militia] came, and started again when we resisted.'

Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much

Psychologists have long studied the grunts and winks of nonverbal communication, the vocal tones and facial expressions that carry emotion. A warm tone of voice, a hostile stare — both have the same meaning in Terre Haute or Timbuktu, and are among dozens of signals that form a universal human vocabular

But in recent years some researchers have begun to focus on a Momentary touches, they say — whether an exuberant high five, a warm hand on the shoulder, or a creepy touch to the arm — can communicate an even wider range of emotion than gestures or expressions, and sometimes do so more quickly and accurately than words.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Making a bit of me


A machine that prints organs is coming to market

THE great hope of transplant surgeons is that they will, one day, be able to order replacement body parts on demand. At the moment, a patient may wait months, sometimes years, for an organ from a suitable donor. During that time his condition may worsen. He may even die. The ability to make organs as they are needed would not only relieve suffering but also save lives. And that possibility may be closer with the arrival of the first commercial 3D bio-printer for manufacturing human tissue and organs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Continuing to Save Sight in 2010

Here is a nice post from Rebecca Saxton, one of the newest and most enthusiastic members of the Orbis team, describing what Orbis is doing in Niger (in the middle of a presidential coup nonetheless!)
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I immediately left the room to find translators. I sat with him for a while, walking several different translators over to him to explain the importance of his appointment on Monday, and making sure he had a way of getting to the hospital in Niamey. I was afraid that with the information switching from English to French to Zarma, the unfamiliar faces, and the general apprehension that people have around doctors that the message would not get across. When he walked out, I was afraid we would never see him again.
Sitting from my back office aboard the Flying Eye Hospital, I can see into the room where Moussa is currently getting prepped for surgery. As in all of our cases, he will be operated on by one of our volunteer doctors, along with 2 local doctors from Niger. This way, when we fly out, the local doctors will have better capability to deal with cases like Moussa’s.

Transplants That Do Their Job, Then Fade Away

This is so awesome!!!!
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Jonathan Nuñez was 8 months old when a liver transplant saved his life. Three years later, his body rejected the transplant, attacking it so fiercely that it wasted away and vanished, leaving barely a trace.

That result, seemingly a disaster, was exactly what his doctors had hoped for. They had deliberately withdrawn Jonathan’s antirejection medicine because he no longer needed the transplant. His own liver had — as planned — regenerated.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Division and Its Discontents

A nice meditation on division can be found here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ally for the Poor in an Unlikely Corner

Andrew Witty is not quite as young or as buff as Anderson Cooper, but he does do interviews in shirtsleeves from the slums of Nairobi and rural hospitals in Uganda.

Andrew Witty, named GlaxoSmithKline's chief executive in 2008.
What makes that unusual is that Mr. Witty is not a roving CNN anchor, but the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s second-largest drug company.
Besides being the youngest person in such a post — he was appointed in 2008 at age 43 —
he is also making a name for himself by doing more for the world’s poor than any other leader of a colossus of Big Pharma.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord

The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling “My Way” in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.”
The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country’s culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?
Whatever the reason, many karaoke bars have removed the song from their playbooks.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Gibbons to Deliver Emergency State of State

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- Nevada's budget is so far out of balance that by one account the state could lay off every worker paid from the general fund and still be $300 million in the red. The economic downturn has hit so hard that prisons may be closed, entire colleges shuttered and thousands left without jobs.
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Lynn Hettrick, deputy chief of staff, said the governor wants to try to avoid more layoffs, because the state must pay the full cost of unemployment benefits for affected workers. Nevada, with a 13 percent unemployment rate, is on track to borrow $1 billion from the federal government to meet jobless claims because its unemployment insurance trust fund has gone broke.
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Still, budget cuts could result in thousands of layoffs, mainly teachers, with the shock waves reverberating through Nevada for years to come.
''Most people living in Nevada have never experienced anything like this,'' said Guy Rocha, a historian and former state archivist. ''The last time we had an economic crisis of this magnitude was the Great Depression.''

Thursday, February 04, 2010

From ‘Oprah’ to Building a Sisterhood in Congo

This is an inspirational story worth reading in its entirety in the link below...
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Five years ago, Lisa Shannon watched “Oprah” and learned about the savage, forgotten war here in eastern Congo, played out in massacres and mass rape. That show transformed Lisa’s life, costing her a good business, a beloved fiancé, and a comfortable home in Portland, Ore. — but giving her a chance to save lives in Congo.
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“Technically, I had a good life before, but I wasn’t very happy,” she mused. “Now I feel I have much more of a sense of meaning.”
Maybe that’s why I gravitate toward Lisa’s story. In a land where so many “responsible” leaders eschew responsibility, Lisa has gone out of her way to assume responsibility and try to make a difference. Along with an unbelievable cast of plucky Congolese survivors such as Generose, she evokes hope.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake

Read about Michael Pollan's latest book here.

In the more than four decades that I have been reading and writing about the findings of nutritional science, I have come across nothing more intelligent, sensible and simple to follow than the 64 principles outlined in a slender, easy-to-digest new book called “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” by Michael Pollan.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Miracle of Vitamin D: Sound Science, or Hype?

Yet despite the health potential of vitamin D, as many as half of all adults and children are said to have less than optimum levels and as many as 10 percent of children are highly deficient, according to a 2008 report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
As a result, doctors are increasingly testing their patients’ vitamin D levels and prescribing daily supplements to raise them. According to the lab company Quest Diagnostics, orders for vitamin D tests surged more than 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from the same quarter a year earlier. And in 2008, consumers bought $235 million worth of vitamin D supplements, up from $40 million in 2001, according to Nutrition Business Journal.
But don’t start gobbling down vitamin D supplements just yet. The
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